Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ft. Sumter


  Very early on the morning of April 12, 1861 Confederate artillery batteries opened a barrage on Ft. Sumter. After a 33 hour bombardment the fort surrendered on April 13th. Incredibly nobody was killed. Two Union soldiers were accidentally killed on April 14th when a Union gun exploded during the formal surrender ceremony. The Confederates took possession of the fort and would successfully hold it until February 18, 1865 when the city of Charleston fell to Union forces. The fort was badly damaged after the Confederates fired 4,000 shells at it during the opening battle. In 1863 the Union Navy attempted to take the fort by monitor ironclads but they were beaten back. Two battles were fought by Union land forces to take Morris Island in the first and second battles of Ft. Wagner. Both attacks were bloodily repelled. The first battle for Ft. Wagner was spearheaded by the all black 54th Massachusetts Infantry portrayed in the movie Glory. The Confederates abandoned Ft. Wagner in September 1863. From that moment on Ft. Sumter was pounded along with the City of Charleston by heavy rifled guns on Morris Island. Charleston was heavily damaged and Ft. Sumter was reduced to a mound of rubble. The rebels manning Ft. Sumter lived like rats but every morning they would wheel out a 12 pounder Napoleon and fire off a shot in defiance just to let the Yankees know that they were still there. Finally on February 17, 1865 the city fell to the Union forces commanded by a German-American General named Alexander Schimmelfennig. This was sweet revenge since Schimmelfennig was forced to hide out in a pig pen for three days to avoid capture by Confederates forces at Gettysburg.

The skull of a soldier killed in the attack on Ft. Sumter

The charge of the 54th Massachusetts as depicted in the movie Glory

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